Fall 1978 Givenchy Haute Couture Original Runway Sample Black Silk & Velvet Dress w Beaded Sleeves

The House of Givenchy was founded in 1952 by Hubert de Givenchy. He has always been strongly associated with the work that he did dressing Audrey Hepburn but his range was incredible as a designer behind that relationship with her. Some of my personal favourite vintage pieces over the years have been from his work. His Haute Couture pieces are always amazing to find and this wonderful dress is an extraordinary example of his couture work during this time period. It is completely made by hand to Haute Couture standards and the workmanship and craft out into this dress is extraordinary. This is also the actual runway sample and you can see its near twin in the reference photos that we have added here that would have been in the same grouping as this one, which makes its place in fashion history even more special. As good as the dress is on the dress form you can see how it transforms even further on an actual body. This is true Couture and it is fabulous. I love it. 

What a beautiful piece of couture. The bodice of the dress is made from a black silk with a slight sheen to the finish and the fabric has a touch of weight that allows it to hold the shape that you see. For the skirt he used a black velvet with a thick pile finish and this fabric choice also really allows it to hold those beautiful lines that you see in the photos. Its beautiful shape is almost sculptural and it is a testament to the level of workmanship that you only see in true couture pieces. The bodice buttons to close down the front and the buttons run all the way up to the neckline. Each button is a thick circle of black with a glass rhinestone set inside. The neckline has no collar and it is just a simple, elegant swoop around your neck. The bodice has vertical darts so that it follows and accentuates the curves of the body. It narrows in slightly at the waist and then curves out and over to the top of the hip below the natural waist. A ribbon is tacked at the back and then ties on the front to give the dress the same look as how it was shown on the runway. The sleeves are amazing. Each is cut on a curve to follow the shape of the arm in the traditional manner of making a sleeve. They are set into the shoulders with a beautiful series of soft pleats so that you get a bit of volume at the shoulder. There is stiffened tulle just inside the edge of the shoulder for shape and this lets them puff out slightly around the upper arm and then it narrows down to their ends.The skirt has some built-in fullness around the inside of the upper hip that allows it to lift slightly off and away from the body. There are also weights that are set all around the inner hip so that it sits perfectly on the body once on. The skirt curves down and inwards from there. The skirt at the front is cut on a curve that swoops up at the centre so that you see a flash of leg as you walk or sit. The back is fuller and it also falls a touch longer so you get a beautiful curving line from the side. The sleeves are works of art. Each is detailed with hand applied prong set glass rhinestones in red green and clear to form a stunning red flower with trailing leaves that run over and down the outer edge of each sleeve. Little hand cut velvet bits are hand applied in and around the flowers to give them depth. The rhinestones catch the light beautifully. It is incredible. These have all been added one by one by hand and the entire dress is completely hand made to couture standards. I have taken some detail shots of the interior seams for you to see the fine Haute Couture workmanship inside. It is an incredible piece and beautifully made. Excellent condition with a small note below

The bodice is unlined and the skirt is fully lined in a black silk organza. Built in panniers around the hip area with weights that I have photoed. It closes down the front with the buttons as shown and the skirt snaps into place under that. A little hidden set snap is set on each cuff. Hand finished throughout. The proper runway sample tag is present. One rhinestone is broken but it is the button that lies under the ribbon when it is tied. Please see the photo after the sample tag. Some of the seams show minor stress. Made to Haute Couture standards with a tremendous amount of detail put into its construction.

Sleeves: 25" and 14" aroid the upper arm. 6.5" around the wrist
Slightly inset shoulders: 14.5"
Bust: 16-17" flat across from side seam to side seam
Waist: to 13" flat across from side seam to side seam and meant be cinched with the ribbon
Seam across top of hips: 15" flat across from side seam to side seam
Natural hips: open
Bodice: 20" from the neck to the seam at top of hips
Total length: 41" from neck to shortest part of the front hem, 58.5" to the back hem with 2" turned under the hem

Modern Sizing Equivalent: XS-SML

Modern Sizing Equivalent:

Item# DD4562

Reference Photos: Givenchy Fall 1978 Haute Couture Advance.

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